Season Three, Episode Eleven — “Visions and Voices”
By Jason Gibner. As if to apologize for the excruciating drought of lifeless episodes that made up the middle of its second season, the whiz-bang mid season finale of Star Wars Rebels gave us everything we’d been waiting for. “Visions and Voices” overflowed with the sort of deep-set Force mysticism fans have been craving since the season began. It’s a surprisingly dark and spooky episode, Star Wars Rebels doing what it does best — continuing to expand the already expansive Star Wars mythos while masquerading as a show that’s, you know, “for the kids.”
“Visions and Voices” begins with Ezra bombarded by literal visions and voices from the former Dark Lord of the Sith, Maul. Seems when Maul and Ezra combined those Sith and Jedi holocrons back in “Holocrons of Fate”, their visions of a planet with twin suns got all jumbled up. They each saw only a part of the complete vision, and just getting half of something is a bit of a touchy subject for Maul. The horned loony seeks out Ezra and his weird haircut for another attempt, but the only way to make this happen is for the two of them to travel to the creepy planet of Dathomir, former home of the dark Force-wielding Nightsisters, also known as the Witches of Dathomir. Got all that?
Like so many episodes this season, “Visions and Voices” relies greatly on the viewer’s familiarity with The Clone Wars series: If a person was unfamiliar with Dathomir, Maul’s time on Mandalore, what the heck the Darksaber is, or even the post-Phantom Menace relationship between Maul and Obi-wan Kenobi, they may be more than a little lost by this episode. What makes things more complicated is this week’s rapid pace.
There’s so much in this episode that the story could have benefited from being spread out over a few individual episodes, just as Clone Wars did so often. Just the stuff in the show’s intro, with Ezra thinking he’s flipped out with Maul in his head, could have easily made for one interesting episode. Due to the episode’s rushed pace, a moment with The Bendu flies by and Ezra’s decision to go with Maul to Dathomir comes far too easily and quickly.
When it is able to slow down it delivers sorely missed development between Kanan and Ezra, which opens up some real thought-provoking directions for the rest of the season. There’s a lot of seeds planted here (that Darksaber tease is packed with serious intent all on its own). Hopefully Rebels is ready to supply them with lots of water and some of that twin sun sunshine.
Kanan: “Bendu, you knew we were coming?” Bendu: “Yes, you’re not exactly quiet creatures, hmm?” Ezra: “I want to stop seeing Maul.” Bendu: “Then don’t turn around!” Maul: “Of course. It ends where it began. A desert planet with twin suns.”
Sabine: “Won’t they possess you too?” Ezra: “I’m counting on it!”
“This is the last time we’re working with Maul!” – Kanan.
Ezra: “Sabine, I told you to stay outside!” Sabine: “Hey, I’ve never listened to you before. Why start now?”
“The answer to my question of how to destroy the Sith is Obi-wan Kenobi.” – Ezra.
BEST MOMENT: After drinking some kind of magic juice, Ezra and Maul make green ghostly stuff come out their eyes and they share a Force vision. Above them forms an image of two suns and both of them are left reeling about discovering the location of Obi-wan Kenobi. It’s the payoff moment we’ve all been waiting for; both Maul and Ezra realize their destinies are somehow intertwined with that crazy old hermit.
EPISODE’S MVP: Maul, in both Clone Wars and Rebels, has somehow become one of the more fascinating characters either show ever had. He’s a messed up dude obsessed with getting even with the guy he thinks ruined it all for him, Obi-wan Kenobi. I have a sneaky feeling that this season could be the last time we see the guy in a Star Wars something, but as Maul discovered, it will end how it began: On that desert planet in the Outer Rim.
– If Maul was there on the planet, wouldn’t Kanan have felt his presence as well? Perhaps it’s because Attolon is so strong in the Force that Maul’s being there wouldn’t be felt by Kanan — or perhaps The Bendu simply wanted Maul to be found by Kanan and Ezra?
– So sometime after Maul’s defeat on Mandalore, he returned to his Nightsisters “family” on Dathomir only to find them wiped out by the Empire. Makes sense that Palpatine would want all those Sith witches dead; it makes me wonder if it was Vader who did the job.
– Maul’s eerie portrait of Obi-wan’s special lady friend, Duchess Satine, is especially creepy considering it was Maul who killed her.
– The spirits of the Nightsisters gave off a serious Raiders of the Lost Ark vibe, reminding me greatly of the spirits that flew from the Ark. As Belloq said, “It’s beautiful!”
– Ezra’s final choice between going with Maul as his apprentice or “brother” to find Kenobi or rescue Kanan and Sabine is the moment of decision we’ve been waiting for with that kid. Finally, he’s starting to show that maybe he’s done with his Hot Topic approved era of rebellious snottiness. That maybe, just maybe, he’s gonna be alright.
9 out of 10
Next: “Ghosts of Geonosis,” soon.
Before: “An Inside Man,” here.